Jetsam 11: Two hundred beetles

I am a fan of Tim Prebble’s The Music of Sound, where he deals with field recording and the role of sound in general. Tim is running a field recording competition which requires ‘a cardboard box, a microphone, a recorder and you. Thats it! No processing allowed, submit a single take’.

I decided to go for something a bit creepy given the time of the year: getting close to Día de los Muertos. My setup was fairly simple:

  • One (empty) box of Weet-Bix apricot bites.
  • One JrF c-series contact microphone.
  • One impedance transforming thingy.
  • Two pieces of masking tape.
  • One Sound Devices Mixpre-D.
  • One USB cable to record in a mac air using Audacity.
  • Two hundred (200) mealworm beetles (Tenebrio sp).

The setup looked like this, except that in the recording the box was leaning while the insects went in:

The photo shows the ingredients with the beetles having a dinner-break, while I was setting up a leaning box.

The photo shows the ingredients with the beetles having a dinner-break, while I was setting up a leaning box.

I was pleased with the final result, although I would have liked a more full boxy sound. I’ll have to train the beetles to behave better in the box.